The United States Customs and Border Protection Bureau (USCBP) is intending to make some changes to the Global Entry program, and is currently seeking public feedback on these changes. There are some positive and negative changes, so let’s go through them.
As a refresher, for those not familiar with Global Entry, it’s a program that allows pre-qualified low risk travelers to get expedited immigration when entering the US.
Global Entry fee to increase to $120
Currently the Global Entry enrollment cost is $100 (this is valid for five years), while the plan is for the cost of Global Entry to increase to $120, so that would represent a 20% increase in price. I suppose the price has been the same for a long time, and there is inflation…
As it’s described, the current fees are no longer sufficient to recover the CBP’s costs to administer the program.
I’m a little bit confused by that. Travelers have to be screened upon arrival in the US either way. Isn’t it significantly more efficient to screen people with Global Entry, given that it requires less human interaction?
Obviously there’s a brief interview to get approved, but how inefficient is the program that the $100 fee isn’t doing the trick? It’s noted that in 2018 the program had $142.7 million in fee revenue.
I get the program probably isn’t profitable, but then again, most government programs aren’t. Is the program really so unprofitable that a price increase is warranted?
NEXUS fee to increase to $120 as well
NEXUS is arguably the best value Trusted Traveler Program. The enrollment fee is only $50, and that gets you Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check, and expedited immigration in Canada.
It’s bizarre that this has been so much cheaper than Global Entry, though I guess the catch is that the cost of NEXUS hasn’t been covered by credit cards that offer a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check fee credit.
Well, with this proposal, the cost of NEXUS would increase to $120 as well, which represents a 140% price increase. Increasing the cost of NEXUS seems more warranted to me, given that up until now it has offered more at half the cost.
Global Entry will be free for kids
Children can sign up for Global Entry, and they currently pay the same fee as adults.
With this proposed change, minors (under the age of 18) would be exempt from the application fee if they applied concurrently with a parent or legal guardian, or if their parent or legal guardian is already a member of the same program. Otherwise minors would still have to pay $120.
What would this mean for Global Entry credit card perks?
Currently a variety of premium credit cards offer a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit. The way this typically works, you can receive a statement credit of up to $100 every four or five years if you pay for a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check enrollment with your card.
If the fee for Global Entry increased to $120, what would that mean for this credit card benefit? I have a few thoughts:
- The fee change hasn’t been finalized, so at this point all we can do is speculate based on a hypothetical
- Personally I’d imagine that credit cards would increase the maximum statement credit to $120 to account for this, since reimbursing part of a fee isn’t as good of a marketing bullet
- I guess it’s also possible that the credit of up to $100 is maintained, and then people just have to pay $20 out of pocket if they want Global Entry (while the credit would still cover TSA Pre-Check)
- The silver lining here is that maybe we’ll finally also see these credits potentially count towards NEXUS, which hasn’t been the case in the past (and is arguably the most comprehensive program)
The US CBP is planning on increasing the enrollment fee for Global Entry from $100 to $120, and increasing the enrollment fee for NEXUS from $50 to $120. Obviously this price increase is bad for members, though a positive change is that kids will be able to enroll for free in connection with a parent.
Global Entry is a huge timesaver, so while I don’t like the price increase, I still consider it to be a great value (well, at least I would if I could stop getting the dreaded “X” when returning to the US).
Hopefully credit cards offering statement credits towards enrollment fees would increase the limit of that credit, in which case many of us wouldn’t be any worse off.
What do you make of the prospect of a Global Entry/NEXUS fee increase?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)